BOULDER, Colo. –The Space and Missile Systems Center celebrated the grand re-opening of its Tools Applications and Processing (TAP) Lab facility on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.
Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, SMC commander and program executive officer for Space, and Col. Timothy A Sejba, program executive officer for Space Development facilitated the event which included a ribbon cutting, opening ceremony, and walk-through of the new state-of-the-art facility.
Originally commissioned in 2016, the TAP Lab is a government-operated remote sensing data exploitation research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) facility. For nearly two-decades the facility had hosted SMC programs including the Interim Mission Control Station Back-Up (IMCSB), Interim Test Center (ITC), Combined Task Force (CTF), and Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) development and test programs.
While the TAP Lab was previously a backup facility for all Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) satellite data, SMC saw an opportunity to leverage the facility’s existing connections to this data in providing access to the ever-increasing quantity and value of data from current and next-gen satellites. Promising early work from the TAP Lab highlighted the need for a dedicated workspace that fosters creative analysis, interpretation, and utilization of this gold mine of information. To that end, SMC set out to establish a high-tech facility that others could look to as the standard in collaborative research environments, literally and figuratively “breaking down the walls” between the government, academia, and non-traditional industry partners.
“The cooperation between government, industry and top-notch academic institutions is powerful,” said Thompson. “The TAP Lab is a modern physical and creative space to study satellite data and generate software capable of helping the U.S. and its allies; it currently has military applications with missile launches, missile tracking, aircraft navigation, weather monitoring and there will be dozens of additional uses for the data streams.”
The lab is a high-tech environment to collaborate in development of advanced capabilities, using the data collected from the next-generation of satellites, while providing a modern physical workspace and access to Information Technology (IT) and subject matter experts. The space is directly staffed by the military and government civilians, and organically staffed with Aerospace, MITRE, Software Engineering Institute, SE&I, and SETA personnel, and provides access to top experts in their fields, creating the perfect environment for cooperation in ongoing research and development.
The TAP Lab is managed by the Development Corps at the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), El Segundo, California, the center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. The center’s portfolio includes the Space Launch and Range Systems, Global Positioning System, Military Satellite Communications, Space-Based Environmental Monitoring Systems, Satellite Control Networks, Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems, and Space Domain Awareness capabilities.